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Review: The Way She Feels: My Life in Borderline in Pictures and Pieces

The Way She Feels: My Life in Borderline in Pictures and Pieces

The prevailing narrative of mental health and the way it has been treated in the past is truly deplorable. As the history of how doctors once diagnosed mental disorders seem more than anachronistic, but sometimes, purely barbaric. The stigma in admitting that you may need to address your mental health is still something that holds shame for many. As it always easier to for someone to be labeled as “off” or crazy”, instead of seeing if that person requires medical help.

To truly understand how one deals with any of these maladies, is to understand how the particular disorder affects the brain. Most people will only assume from a distance, while those who are close to people who are affected, see it firsthand. As it is something they deal with for a lifetime and some only get to be manageable. In Courtney Cook’s searing memoir, The Way She Feels: My Life in Borderline in Pictures and Pieces, the author gives a day by account of what it takes.

In the chapter “The Blow Dryer is full of Souls and Other Facts in Lists”, the reader gets the bare facts about Courtney and how she sees her condition. In “This is why I’m Crying”, she explains her perpetual state of melancholy for someone with BPD (borderline personality disorder). In “God Circle”, she tethers her feelings of isolation to BPD while also trying to rationalize in her everyday life. In “Show Me A Happy Person and I’ll Show You a Liar”, Courtney retraces her life, to look for instances, where she was truly, happy, often failing. In “Not Borderline as Crazy, but Borderline as in F@#k you”, she struggles to find acceptance for her disorder and realizes the associated stigma, will never go away. In “Trying Myself On”, her journey of self acceptance is one that she learns will be hard one. In “The Way She Feels”, we find out how her self-harm started, and not much she did, provided distraction. In” Ten Months in Europe”, Courtney retells about her time in a residential treatment center, an experience, that was perfunctory at best for her. In “How Sugary Cereal Keeps Me Alive”, she tells how cereal, the one with sugar offers her respite when she struggles with BPD. In “A Marvel”, she talks about a time when her father was sick and how a friend, as well as the media arts department at her school, provided her relief during that difficult time. In “Your Body Is a Temple”, she learned her self-worth in a relationship that tested her BPD. In “I Googled “Borderline Personality Disorder’ and I Ran for the Hills”, she finds out on the internet, that the misconceptions of her disorder is far and wide. In “I’d die for Mini Corndogs and Other Mini Obsessions”, she tries to makes distinction between the things she loves and things she obsesses over. In “A by no means comprehensive list of things that have scared me half to death”, she enumerates some of the things that triggers her. In “Dear, I’m Sorry I Exist”, she repeatedly apologizes for anything she did because of her BPD. In “Oops, I’m Bleeding Again”, her self-harm restarts and is tied into her self- image this time and how lovers view her. In “How caring for ailing senior pets helps me care for myself”, she lists the ways for hospice pets, has shown her, how to lookout for herself. In “Ode to the Psychiatrist I Hate Who Gives Me Drugs”, she describes her complex relationship with a doctor who uses medications to treat her. In the final chapter “Sweet, Soft Life, I Love You”, she describes to the reader what she wishes for the future despite having BPD.

Overall, The Way She Feels: My Life in Borderline in Pictures and Pieces is an excellent memoir which not only gives the reader, a greater understanding of this malady, but in many ways, normalizes it. The stories by Cook are extraordinary. The art by Cook is gorgeous. Altogether, this memoir should be required reading for all, especially those who have people in their lives living with it.

Story: Courtney Cook Art: Courtney Cook
Story: 9.8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Purchase: AmazonKindleBookshop

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